Small Courage

A Queer Memoir of Finding Love and Conceiving Family

By Jane Byers

Categories: Memoir, LGBTQ+
Imprint: Dagger Editions
Paperback : 9781773860404, 192 pages, September 2020

A moving and inspiring memoir of a same-sex couple as they create a life together, adopt twins, and overcome challenges, from outside and within, to build their family.


Rarely do we know what life will hold. When starting the adoption process, Jane Byers and her wife could not have predicted the illuminating and challenging experience of living for two weeks with the Evangelical Christian foster parents of their soon-to-be adopted twins. Parenthood becomes even more daunting when homophobia threatens their beginnings as a family, seeping in from places both unexpected and familiar. But Jane and Amy are up for the challenge. In this moving and poetic memoir, Byers draws readers into her own tumultuous beginnings: her coming out years, finding love, and the start of her parenting journey. Love imprints itself where loneliness lived, but sometimes love, alone, is not enough to overcome trauma. Little did Byers know that her experiences when coming out was merely training for becoming an adoptive parent of racialized twins. Small Courage: A Queer Memoir of Finding Love and Conceiving Family is a thoughtful and heart-warming examination of love, queerness and what it means to be a family.


"Small Courage is an intimate, original, and profoundly generous act of immense courage. Thank you Jane Byers for letting readers into your life so we can more clearly see and understand our own. An insightful, big-hearted book full of parenting wisdom."

—Angie Abdou, author of Home Ice: Reflections of a Reluctant Hockey Mom

"Byers, the author of two books of poetry, a chapbook and scripts for two documentary films, Only in Nelson and Conceiving Family, brings a poet’s sensitivity to language and a script writer’s keen eye for visual effects to bear on her story. The result is an honest, elegantly written book about family life in the Kootenays and about the courage it takes to face off against misogyny and homophobia. ... This book, with its tender heart and lapidary prose, will be a pleasure for discerning readers everywhere. Highly recommended."

—Tom Sandborn, the Vancouver Sun

"At once a unique story of a transnational lesbian couple raising biracial twins adopted in Canada in the aughts, and a parallel narrative about coming out and finding oneself, Small Courage represents multiple journeys rolled into one. ... By braiding her now decades-long journey in parenthood with powerful personal anecdotes regarding her growth as a woman, a lesbian, and a feminist, Byers illustrates why her courage—derived from having her own identity challenged by society, the organized state, and even her own family—is exactly what is needed to be a loving parent. Small Courage is more than a familial memoir, it is an ode to the power of community, and a call to courage."

—Lambda Literary